Even though you play most of Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge as a droid repair tech turned gun-toting hero, there are a handful of short-lived Jedi tales to play through in which you can swing a lightsaber and fling little alien monkey enemies with the Force.
Almost as if to say ‘this is why the game isn’t about being Jedi’, they’re (pardon the Sullustan) kind of a load of drutash casting. Which is no big deal as the rest of the game is all rooty, tooty, shooty. Being a techie scoundrel is, it turns out, the bomb.
Yet another game built around tactile control with 1:1 VR hands, it introduces you to the (eventually quite detailed) functions you have to carry out at a pace that’s snappy but never overwhelming. In fact, when we interviewed the developer behind Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge, ILMxLAB, they we're clear PSVR 2 is about to kickstart a new era of virtual reality.
A routine inspection of your ship’s cargo teaches you how to look around, scan things, activate a fixed-distance hover boost to reach tall decks, and deploy your little drone orbs (like the ones Luke Skywalker must cut down in the movies), before things go wrong and you start frantically flipping levers to dispose of cargo, using your All-kit tool to unscrew a hidden compartment, and grabbing the blaster inside to shoot some droids.
Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy's Edge impresses
No other game I’ve played on PSVR2 asks you to use your hands in such intricate ways as Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy's Edge. Every item you have is on your body (which can be turned off so all you see is a floating series of belt straps). Guns sit in hip-holsters (and also on your shoulders after an upgrade), med-kits can be attached to your wrists for quick access, and scooting through your inventory requires you to pull off a pouch so its contents can be displayed in front of you. Even your wrist-mounted device for navigation, comms, and the like can be operated by tapping its buttons with either a finger or an extended blaster.
It’s testament to how well the controls work that though you may be cautious at first, you quickly find yourself ducking behind cover, switching weapons between hands, and juggling other items just like you would in real life (though probably in a less fraught situation). You even get used to shooting pretty fast, and pulling off a Han Solo-like quick draw of a blaster feels great, as does realising you’re out of charge and hurling it at an exposed Rodian mercenary’s skull.
A combination of free move and teleport options plus a zippy thruster pack allows you to stay mobile, though free movement can feel a bit dizzying when playing in standing mode (we opted for seated in the end, which adjusts your height up).
Simply using your All-kit to pop open item caches or open doors to progress is a joy. While those are essentially simple interactions, the non-abstract nature of, say, using the kit’s screwdriver function to loosen bolts or its zap to restore the health of your floating orb friends is a marvellous touch.
Everything around you is incredibly detailed, and it’s a joy not only to look at (holding gear up to your face to look at the worn textures or browsing a set of old droids is irresistible) but to interact directly with.
After arriving on Batuu on the trail of your lost cargo, you begin to help the locals, which results in you undertaking a chain of three short but sweet campaigns that see you blasting your way through everything from jungles to swamps, ancient ruins to First Order bases.
Yet despite the range of backdrops and characters chatting to you (including some fan favourites), there’s little variety in what you’re doing. New weapons are introduced, but none really give you much reason to swap from the earlier ones you’ve become comfortable with, and things like trip mines can be too cumbersome to use effectively in a firefight.
However, a change of pace for the climax ensures things end on a high note. Jedi challenges (the titular ‘tales’) add some extra variation, though simply waggling a death stick around isn’t all that exciting (at other points you use lightsaber and Force skills to solve puzzles). But as far as space blasting firefights go, this is a tactile delight more often than not.
If you're new to Sony's latest VR headset then read detailed PSVR 2 review and also catchup on other games for this new technology, including our Horizon Call of the Mountain review, Sony's own blockbuster game for this headset. For something a little more unusual, read our Song in the Smoke Rekindled review.
This article first appeared in Play Magazine issue 25. You can subscribe to the print edition, digital version, or save even more with the print/digital bundle – whatever you choose, you’ll be receiving an unprecedented trove of dedicated PlayStation coverage every month.